Friday, 1 July 2011

Pro-life politicians - What do they know about life?

I did a bit of googling about the pro-life movement and found this overview on Wikipedia:

Pro-life individuals generally believe that human life should be valued either from fertilization or implantation until natural death. The contemporary pro-life movement is typically, but not exclusively, influenced by Conservative Christian values, especially in the United States, and has influenced certain strains of bioethical utilitarianism. From that viewpoint, any action which destroys an embryo or fetus kills a person. Any deliberate destruction of human life is considered ethically or morally wrong and is not considered to be mitigated by any benefits to others, as such benefits are coming at the expense of the life of a person. In some cases, this belief extends to opposing abortion of fetuses that would almost certainly expire within a short time after birth, such as anencephalic fetuses.

It made me go into one of my rants, so bear with me.

Abortion evokes many strong emotions in every person, in every country. In the United States, it's a hot political issue and certain politicians and political celebrities use it constantly: Being pro-life somehow qualifies them for office.

These very same individuals, who defend the sanctity of life, are enthusiastic about gun rights, wars and the death penalty. When does an individual's life become less valuable?

Christian Conservatives talk about the potential of the embryo. It's all very good and sounds admirable. But what kind of potential can this latent life fulfill when these people also oppose universal healthcare, public services and some even oppose public education? What about the quality of life?

They defend the individual's right to be born, then what?

Women don't have abortions for fun. It's a very serious decision, not taken lightly and not for selfish reasons. A woman faced with an unwanted pregnancy has to weigh many factors. Their ability to provide for the child comes top of the list. Some may not be able to provide financially, others don't feel capable of providing emotionally, many live in less than ideal circumstances or and have violent partners. Some don't have partners. Concerns about the potential of the unborn child is possibly the main reason for a woman to seek an abortion.

It may sound paradoxical, both camps concerned about the potential of the embryo, arriving at opposite conclusions.

The anti-choice brigade favour adoption as a solution. As a woman, I find the prospect of carrying a child for nine months, feel it growing, moving, then going through labour, giving birth, feeling my breasts engorged with milk then just giving the baby away absolutely horrifying. How could it be considered less traumatic than having an early abortion?

Deciding to have a termination is hard enough without women who choose to have one being branded as murderers.

It would be a good thing if these politicians stopped using women and embryos as political pawns, especially as they oppose anything that improves the quality of everybody's lives. They talk about entitlement. So, people are entitled to be born, but not entitled to live their lives with dignity? They have to forgo healthcare and services, because they're considered privileges? Women are supposed to bring children into this world in precarious conditions, perpetuating a vicious circle or be reduced to mere breeding machines. Where's the dignity in that?

I'm as pro-life as the next person, I love life, but a life where potentials CAN be fulfilled. I believe that life should have quality, I believe people should have the right to live with dignity. I believe every life should be valued and not just at embryonic stage.

Until these so called pro-life politicians start advocating for and passing legislation to ensure a decent quality of life for all instead of fighting it every step of the way, I believe they have no right to legislate over anybody's bodies and have no right to tell anybody how to live their lives. They offer those precious embryos a very poor deal. From the minute they're born, they're on their own.